For years, multiplayer games have been a huge draw, especially when it comes to online connectivity. There was a time, however, that multiplayer games were limited to getting friends together in the living room, rather than putting on a headset and waiting for them to log in. And you know what? Those were damn great times.
The Nintendo 64 was at the forefront for these games, offering up a number of classics that offered same-screen or split-screen experiences. Now it's just a matter of divvying up which games were the best for the system, because, well, there were just so many.
So after much deliberating, I've come up with a list of the ultimate Nintendo 64 multiplayer experiences. These aren't ranked, by any means, because, well, most of you would probably say Goldeneye 64 rules overall, anyway. So they speak on their own terms, thus the reasoning for a general list.
Without further ado, here are ten multiplayer experiences you should check out with the system. Even by today's terms, they're a lot of fun.
Goldeneye 64 (Nintendo)
Yep, it rules, so we'll go ahead and get it out of the way. Goldeneye managed to push forward the first-person shooter market on consoles, allowing up to four people to partake in proximity mine-laying, paintball-shooting, screen-watching (even when they refused to admit it) madness, with a variety of characters and weapons. Ever want to plug Oddjob with a few shots from the Klobb? Or maybe even grasp the Golden Gun and put a few villains in their place? Here's your chance. Perfect Dark 64 takes a good second place, although don't forget you need the Expansion Pak.
Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo)
If you want a premiere racing experience for the Nintendo 64, and one you can easily enjoy with your friends, Mario Kart 64 is a must-play. Sure, Mario Kart 8 has us spoiled nowadays, but MK 64 jettisoned the series to new heights with four-player compatibility, allowing you and your friends to go at it across a number of creatively designed tracks. It's still worth taking a spin with today. And, if you need more racing fun, be sure to track down Ridge Racer 64, F-Zero X and Hydro Thunder 64. Good stuff.
StarFox 64 (Nintendo)
StarFox may not be the first franchise you think of when it comes to competitive multiplayer, especially given the strength of its single player story. Nevertheless, Nintendo surprised us by including it as an extra in the package, allowing four players to compete in the air with Arwings, on the ground on tanks, and even on foot for some "friendly" multiplayer skirmishes. Sure, Slippy Toad might have been the most susceptible target (and for good reason), but StarFox 64 demonstrated that you can make a multiplayer mode on its own terms that works.
Mario Golf 64 (Nintendo)
Even though it isn't quite "at the same time" multiplayer, Mario Golf 64 remains one of those irresistible romps that you can play with friends. Even if it isn't your term to grasp the club, you can still get a lot done, as the game provides the opportunity to taunt whoever's at the tee. And you'll hear some hilarious taunts here, including Wario's infamous "WAN TWO THREE FOURRRRRR!" as the player tries to time his or her swing just right. It's still a sports favorite to this very day. Mario Tennis 64 is a romp, too, even without the taunts.
Gauntlet Legends (Midway)
Gauntlet may have grown up quite a bit since the Legends era, but there's no question that the arcade hit-turned-Nintendo 64 release got at least one thing right on Nintendo's console. That's right, it supported four players. You and your friends can choose your warrior (wisely) and then set out to clean up on hundreds of enemies, while collecting foods and other goods across a number of levels. Just don't shoot the food, because we hate it when you shoot the food. Jerk.
The New Tetris (Nintendo)
While both EA and Ubisoft are looking to perfect the art of multiplayer Tetris with its current-gen releases (EA's on the PS3, Ubisoft's with Ultimate on PS4 and Xbox One), Nintendo got it right years before with The New Tetris. Featuring a number of modes and the kind of competitive play that demands you place your pieces right or get left in the dust, it has a sheer addiction that's still a favorite across many households, especially when you start dropping rogue pieces and cleaning house. Now, if we can just get a worthwhile 3DS edition…
WCW/NWO World Tour and WWF: No Mercy (THQ)
Wrestling games may have changed over the past few years, with more realistic wrestlers and a variety of modes. In the mid-to-late 90's, however, all we needed was our favorite wrestlers, worthwhile controls, and three other players to bash around the ring. Both WCW/NWO World Tour and WWF: No Mercy (as well as WWF Wrestlemania 2000 and WCW/NWO Revenge) got this play style just right, and offered a number of superstars to knock around the ring. Despite the growing excitement for the forthcoming WWE 2K15, these four titles are well worth turning back to, especially if you just want a quick grapple.
Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo)
Duh. Like we'd leave out what would essentially become one of the best multiplayer fighting series ever. Super Smash Bros. found its humble beginnings on the N64, complete with a number of characters to choose from (Samus! Link! Fox McCloud!) and plenty of exciting stages to beat them up on. Obviously, the game has grown to immense heights since then, but there's a simplistic charm about the original that still makes it fun to play today. Unless you get knocked out of the ring, though. Ouch.
What are your favorite N64 multiplayer games?